Monday, December 28, 2015


This week was full of miracles! We'd been struggling with finding new investigators- progressing investigators anyway. And all in a matter of a couple days, we have 4. Holla! Half of those came from tracting...what! My experience with tracting was that you don't really expect to find anyone, but you're doing what the Lord asks you to do so you kinda have to. But last night was truly a blessing. For tracting we usually set aside about an hour for going door to door, and the very first door we knocked on this super nice guy named Paul invited us inside and was super eager to hear our message. We shared a Christmas video and talked about why we need a Savior. After a long conversation about his beliefs and faith, we looked up and saw almost an hour had passed by! He invited us back and we are so excited to teach him more about the gospel. Since we'd already been out an hour, we headed back to the car to get to our other appointments, and there was a guy jogging by. We simply said hi, and he stopped to talk to us. He saw our nametags and asked what we were doing out so late (to Minnesotans, 8pm is late since it gets dark at 4pm). We told him we were missionaries and no lie, we stood there talking to him for an hour. He invited us to come back and see him later this week, and even offered to let us spend Christmas Eve with his family. We already have places to spend the holidays with members, but the pure kindness he showed was so Christlike, it really made me feel warm inside regardless of the 10 degree weather (not including windshield). YAY FOR TRACTING!
Another investigator we have is from Mississippi and we bonded over a love of grits and fried chicken. I told her my daddy made the best biscuits around- she challenged him to a duel against her grandmother. Dad, if you ever meet an old black lady named Mama Cleo in Jackson, be sure to show her who's boss :) There's a potential investigator we keep trying to visit, but we always seem to come at the wrong see, we're pretty sure she's a woman of the night (actually we're 99% positive she's a prostitute). But that doesn't mean she doesn't need Jesus! Maybe one of these days we'll catch her when she's not preoccupied.
My companion and I sang at zone Christmas Conference which was fun- once they know you're musically inclined they have you sing at almost everything. I haven't let them know I play piano yet...that's a well-kept secret I have no intention of ever revealing. Our district went to the Minneapolis Institute of Art on P-day which was super cool. It was mostly modern art, so basically children's drawings :) I always wonder what the credentials are for getting your work in an exhibit, because I'm pretty sure I could get in if I closed my eyes and scribbled around on a blank piece of paper.
We had dinner with a convert the other night, and she was talking about how hard life was for her before she joined the church. She was just wandering around not knowing what to do with her life. People say life doesn't come with a manual...but it does. The gospel of Jesus Christ is our guide through life. The scriptures are truly handbooks to the struggles and trials the world has. She said she wished she'd grown up with the knowledge Sister Teuscher and I have had since we were born. I've taken for granted what a blessing it was to grow up in the church and to never have those aching questions about where we came from, or what our purpose on earth is, or where we're going after we die. Not everyone has that comfort, but that's what our job as missionaries is- to share the peace the gospel brings.
I can't wait to talk with my family on Christmas! I'm so excited to hear your voices, I've missed them so much. Love you all, and have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! Love, Sister Brett


Hope everyone had a merry Christmas! It was so wonderful to Skype with my family, you guys all look so good! On Christmas day our district went caroling at a nursing home and we ding-dong-ditched some presents to people. We went to a member's house that evening and played board games and ate super good food. Success. The day before Christmas was exchanges- we switched companions for a day and one of the Sister Training Leaders came to my area to see if I knew what I was doing. Since I'd only been there 2 weeks I really had no idea where anything was, and we have no GPS, so I thought I'd be sneaky and ask the Elders to go joint-teaching with us so I could just follow them wherever we were going. It worked for a little bit, but eventually they had other appointments to get to and I couldn't slide by anymore. After some map reading we figured it out and the lessons went great, but I definitely need to work on memorizing the area more- it's huge! The next morning before she left, our mission president was dropping off mine and Sister Teuscher's Christmas presents, and I may have accidentally locked us out of the up walks President Forbes while I look like a street youth hoodlum picking a lock with my bobby pin...luckily he's a cool guy and thought it was really funny (I did not). We got back inside after a while and now I think it's hilarious. Whatever, I'm a greenie, the STLs don't care haha. 
Yesterday was a really memorable day. Pray for miracles, because they happen! We'd been trying to visit this less active older lady for several days, but couldn't find her. It turns out she was in the hospital in a coma, so we went to go visit her. Her nurse was a very nice man named Jeffrey and started talking to us about missionary work. It turns out his brother is Mormon so he knew we were missionaries from his church. We got to talking about his journey coming to Christ. He said he'd been struggling with feeling run down physically and spiritually. *Backstory: I'd been carrying around a Book of Mormon in my bag all week and hadn't used it, so that morning I was going to take it out. But the spirit prompted me to keep it in, even though it's hecka heavy.* I told him there was something in my life that had really helped me with those same feelings he was having, and I had my BoM still in my bag. I pulled it out and opened to Ether 12:27 and asked him to read it (It's one of my favorite scriptures, go read it for some uplifting awesomeness). It really touched him, and he asked if he could keep it. (Um, duh, please keep it forever and always and read it FOREVER!) We invited him to church and he said he'd come, so please keep him in your prayers! God has truly prepared people to hear the restored gospel, and Jeffrey is one of those people I know is ready to receive it.
Last night we stopped by our favorite member's in the whole wide world- Patience! She's the coolest person and her daughter, Onell, is going to be a backup dancer for Beyonce one day. We were supposed to be the ones pranking the elders, but they ended up pranking us pretty hard. I'm still washing the silly string out of my hair. Onell taught me and Elder Wright how to Nay Nay- even though we're literally the whitest people on the planet. Don't worry, both were caught on tape. Debating on attaching it to this email.
This letter is already super long, but really quickly I wanted to share a little spiritual thought about goal-setting. 2016 is almost here, and New Years resolutions can be tricky to come up with. Though most of our goals consist of losing weight or learning a new skill, we should really be focusing on our spiritual goals. I was listening to Dallin H. Oaks' general conference talk from October called "Parable of the Sower" and he said that we need to be spiritually fed or we will spiritually starve. If we're not reading our scriptures daily or attending church or saying our personal prayers, our spirits will long for that nourishment we're denying it. It's so easy to get caught up in every day life and forget to make them a priority, but if we don't keep up our good habits, it will really negatively effect our lives. I promise if you set goals that help you strengthen your testimony, 2016 will be the best year of your life! Your goals will match up with Heavenly Father's goals, and THAT'S when the miracles come into play.
I love you all so much! Out with the old, in with the new! Happy New Year!
-Sister Brett

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

It's officially after Thanksgiving, so you know what that's Christmastime! The MTC is decked out with lights and decorations, it's so pretty. Thanksgiving was great, we did a service project for Feeding Children in America and packaged over 350,000 total meals with all the missionaries. Afterwards we had a devotional with Dallin H. Oaks. He talked about being grateful even in your trials and it really struck a chord with me. Count your blessings and your challenges, because they're one in the same! 

This week went by so quick...we have our first real investigator! His name is Dylan and he goes to BYU. Most of his friends are Mormon so he decided to come check out what this whole LDS thing is about...good thing you did, Dylan ;) Long story short, after the third lesson we extended the invitation to be baptized...GUESS WHO SAID YEESSS? I can't even explain it, I felt the spirit so strongly, because I knew he was making the most important decision of his entire life and how much happiness the gospel will bring him in his life. But baptism is only the beginning, it's not the end of someone's progress. He's still got a lot to learn, but I have faith he'll endure to the end! 

Tomorrow a new batch of missionaries are coming in and me and my companions have been made the Sister Training Leaders...uh oh. I can barely find my way around the three buildings we go to, let alone helping other people find their way around! Time to start getting my crap together haha. 

I'm really having the time of my life here. The schedule gets easier every day, and the more I learn about my Savior the more I come to love Him and really apply the Atonement in my everyday life. No matter what we're going through, Jesus Christ knows exactly what we're feeling and knows exactly how to help us, we just have to let Him. 

Love you all! -Sister Brett

Monday, November 30, 2015

First week down....

Hello! I can't believe I've been at the MTC for a feels like a month! Our schedules are so packed- there's not a minute unaccounted for. But I love it. I'm in a trio for my companionship- they're amazing. Sister Heiner and Sister Gotchy are both from Utah, and we're super similar. We have a ton of fun together, but it's hard balancing having a good time and focusing on the work- especially since I've been assigned to be senior companion. Responsibility and I have become great friends...but I really needed it! On my own, I could never get through a 16 hour day being as sleep deprived as I am...but with Christ I'm somehow able to stay away during 10 hours of class time. Through obedience comes blessings, but through EXACT obedience comes MIRACLES. Getting through here will be a miracle! But I'm so happy (even though I miss everyone like crazy). It's so weird to think how much your life can change in just a few days...the most exciting part of my week was watching a conference talk on a projector screen like a movie- I've definitely been transported to another dimension haha. But the funny part was I actually really enjoyed it! David A. Bednar was talking about needing true conversion, not just a testimony. You can know it's true all you want, but if you don't act on it, it means hardly anything. Even in just a week, not only has my testimony grown, but I've started true conversion in this gospel. I'm so blessed to not only have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in my life, but the opportunity to share that with people who really need it (which, hello, is everyone). Please keep me updated on everything going on back home! My "past life" (what we call life before the mission haha) seems like a million miles away. But I think about it every single day. Stay focused, Sister Brett! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"I love ya,'re only a day away!"

I'm sitting in bed at a hotel in Salt Lake City, staring at three suitcases by the door filled with everything I'll own for the next 18 months of my life...and I couldn't be more thrilled! Tomorrow I enter the MTC (Missionary Training Center for those of you not familiar with missionary lingo) and I'm feeling a lot of different emotions: excitement, nervousness, too many butterflies to count...but not once have I felt regret. I feel more solidified in my decision right now than I ever did before. I KNOW this is the best decision I could be making for myself. I KNOW Heavenly Father put things in my path that lead me to make the decision to serve a mission. I also know that a mission will probably (no- definitely) be one of the hardest things I do in my life. But it will be the most rewarding, because through Christ ALL things are possible. I have so much love for the gospel and His church. I'm so blessed to have the opportunity to share that with the people in Minnesota, even though I'll probably come back with a northern accent, donchya know. I know I need to go to sleep, but I'm so anxious I probably won't do much of that! Next time I write I'll have been settled in the MTC for about a week- what a weird thought!

Much love, goodnight!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Decision To Serve

Serving a full-time mission was never something I thought I'd do. Not because I didn't think it was a worthy cause, it just didn't feel like a fit for me. Spending 18 months of your life solely proselytizing and talking about Jesus wasn't a task I was up for. I'd grown up in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and cherished having the gospel in my life. But I also cherished what I thought was a perfect set-up at home: I live in gorgeous Los Angeles and get to spend every day pursuing my dreams in the entertainment world. Not to mention an amazing group of friends that the mere thought of being apart from breaks my heart. So I left the thought of serving a mission far back in my mind, never letting myself think it was even an option.

Slowly but surely the thought kept popping into my head, "You need to serve a mission." I'd dust it off as quickly as I would shake off the thought of doing the load of laundry sitting in my closet. Honestly the idea seemed just as unwanted. But every so often the same feeling would wash over me, "Go on a mission.". One night before bed, I was trying to fall sleep and thought to myself "Why am I thinking this? I'd be no good as a missionary." I said a prayer to my Heavenly Father and asked Him why this thought was on my mind so much. I got the answer I knew I would- in my heart I felt strongly that I needed to serve. I was confused, but at the same time I knew that if that was what God wanted me to do, there was no way I wasn't going to do it. So with a new found desire, I committed myself to prepare to serve a mission.

I didn't have any idea where to start. (Can we take a moment to appreciate the effect technology has in our lives?). I was instantly able to start researching what a mission was really all about. The more I read about it, the more I was determined to go. One of my biggest fears was not knowing a lot about the scriptures. I'm hardly a Bible scholar, and my willpower to commit an entire book to memory was not great. But the more I learned, I saw that it wasn't about spouting out a fountain of knowledge- it was declaring the simple truths I already knew. It was about service and loving people. It was about showing my Heavenly Father I loved Him so much that I would sacrifice a year and a half of my life to serve Him.
Before I opened my mission call

I'm going to be really honest when I say that when I opened my mission call several weeks later and found out where I was going, I wasn't just disappointed- I was devastated. I tried to put on a happy face and hide how upset I was- I didn't want my family or friends to know how I felt. I was ashamed of myself for not being more excited.  I can still hear myself reading aloud, "You have been assigned to labor in the Minnesota Minneapolis Mission," and thinking "FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT."  It wasn't so much about not learning a new language, or not getting to go abroad (though those things bugged me too).  It wasn't even about how much I hate cold weather and the mere thought of snow makes me shiver. I knew what I was signing up for, you don't choose where you want to go. But in that instant, I felt like God didn't know me. I expected a sense of peace or confirmation when I found out where I was going, but instead I felt dread. For me, accepting that mission call was one of the biggest trials I've faced in my life. I'd never felt further away from my Heavenly Father then in that time period.  For a week I didn't even look at my call letter- if I pretended it didn't exist, I could carry on with my life and act like nothing would change. I had three months before I left, so in the meantime I ignored it. I finally admitted to myself what I was doing and came up with two options: either accept God's will for me and press forward, or I could wimp out and decide I didn't want to serve anymore. The second thought killed me, and I knew in a heartbeat that wasn't the decision I would make. All I could do was kneel in prayer and pour my heart out to God. I remember telling him pretty straightforward that I had been angry, that I felt alone, and asked why He let me feel this way after prompting me over and over again that I should serve. After ranting for a bit, I felt strongly that mission calls truly are inspired. Minnesota may have been the last place I wanted to go, but I was certain that if God was sending me there, it was the only place I needed to go. Once I realized that what Heavenly Father wanted for me was ten times better than anything I could have hoped for, I finally felt the peace I was waiting for.
Finally reading aloud where I was going

Looking back, maybe my trial was showing God I would still commit that time to Him, even feeling as unsure as I did. Proving not only to Him, but myself, that I was still determined to go on a mission, no matter the outcome. The hymn "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go" has been playing in my head the last couple months, especially the verse that says: "But if by a still small voice He calls to paths that I do not know, I'll answer Dear Lord with my hand in thine, 'I'll go where You want me to go.'".

Now, with only a month to go before I leave, I couldn't be more excited to serve the people of Minnesota. I'll learn to deal with the snow, I'll learn to be separated from my family, but most importantly, I'll learn to be more like my Savior. I'm growing closer to Him and our Heavenly Father every day and I bear my testimony that this church is true. I wouldn't be spending 18 months of my life teaching something I didn't believe in with all my heart. I can't imagine living my life having questions about where we came from, or where we're going when our time on this earth is over. I know no matter what happens, families are forever (which means I'm stuck with mine for eternity- but they're pretty great, so no complaints here ;) ).

 And with that, I have to go purchase a pair of heavy duty snow boots. I'm ready for you, MinneSNOWta.

Until next time, Rachel (soon to be Sister!) Brett